Tuesday, February 28, 2006

BH quiz #23

Um, I still haven't finished off smartening up the trash tournament. In truth, I haven't done anything since I last said I was going to do it. But don't worry. I'll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow is always the best day to do things. Probably because it frees up today.

Because today is the last round of QLL play-offs. The BHs are two points behind Allsorts. It has been like that for sometime. Ever since we crashed to ignominious defeat to the Chester Army in week 7 in our last home game against them. I don't think we've been beaten since. Now we are in week 17.

So. The two best teams in the capital of the universe (hey, New York City is the capital of the world, Paris is the capital of Europe and so on) facing off to decide whether Allsorts win or we win and force another play-off where everyone will gather round and watch us babble incoherently. Doesn't it sound exciting? Or at least mildy thrilling. No? Perhaps, the cursory palpitation.

Here's the history
The BHs have had a bit of a yo-yo time in the league. After deciding that what the world needed was another quiz team, made up of broken-hearted University Challenge failures, we won Division 2 unbeaten. Hurrah, we thought, this was easy. Aha, said Fickle Fate, I'm gonna teach you a lesson. Therefore we were beaten in several embarrassing ways. I now call these the Dark Days. The only bright lights were the addition of Sean and Jesse, who were vital on account of their old world and geography and other archaic knowledge, but it was too late. We were relegated. Back at the bottom, we rose again and won Division 2, only losing once to the Hoghead Chestnuts. We got into the habit of smashing teams, so at least we learned something about team quizzing. We were quite surprised that it was easier in Division 1 than our previous baptism of fire, but perhaps we just got better. Stainer had aimed for mid-table respectability, thus avoiding relegation again, but we did a lot better.

That's the potted league history. Yes, it has got to the point where we are thinking about it like a football team. When that happens it gets slightly serious. And liable to act as a tranquiliser.

Of course, guess who stands in our way? The Ashman. My nerves ain't jittery, but I can credit that to I'm taking it casual-like. Let's wait and see at 8.30pm if this casual stance has not withered away to be replaced by a person at breaking point. I guarantee this though: watch me chain fags like they're gonna be outlawed tomorrow. Making myself ill will make me feel better. Do you see the beautiful logic in that?

1 The three rival kingdoms of Korea were united by which Dynasty in 668AD?
2 Who became the first ever Lord Chief Justice of England in 1613?
3. How many nations competed in the first Summer Olympics?
4. The Romans were routed by Gallic chieftain Brennus on the banks of which river, north of Rome, on July 18, 386BC?
5. What is the fine food centre of southern Ireland and home of the Gourmet Festival, about 15 miles west of Cork, which was also the scene of a 1601 battle between a combined Spanish and Irish force and English armies?
6. Ottawa in Canada celebrates the coldest season in what festival every February?
7. The attack on which fort inspired the song Star Spangled Banner?
8. Which city is the USA's first preservation project, and site of Catfish Row and Chalmers Street, the old slave market?
9. In Malory's Mort d'Arthur what was the castle of Lancelot?
10. Winner of the Nobel prize in 1912, which German dramatist wrote (his most successful play) The Weavers, The Rats, The Beaver Coat, and Agamemnon's Death?
11. Who wrote in his 1785 poem The Newspaper: "A master passion is the love of news"?
12. Which jazzman when asked what jazz was is popularly believed to have replied: "Man, if you gotta ask you'll never know"?
13. Bounded by Ethiopia and Djibouti, which republic is situated on the strait of Bab el Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden?
14. Assassinated in 1975, who was the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh?
15. Which ancient people were defeated by the Carthaginians in 474 BC in a naval battle off Cumae and lost their northern conquests to the Celts in c.400BC?
16. Which Russian hypochondriac composed the tone poem Prometheus and the piano piece Vers La Flamme (Towards the Flame), and also employed a revolutionary system of harmony?
17. Which retired US Air Force Colonel became the first American woman to take charge of a space mission in 1999?
18. Also known as the bicuspid, what valve from the Latin for 'girdle' is situated between the left atrium and the left ventricle and has two flaps?
19. Atomic number 81, British scientist Sir William Crookes discovered which bluish-grey metallic element resembling lead and toxic to humans?
20. Known for its propensity for eating anything, what large gull is Larus argentatus?

BH quiz #22
1 Eugene Fodor 2 Elephants (especially in India) 3 Silent Night 4 Twyla Tharp 5 Peace Pledge Union 6 Norman Pett 7 Admetus 8 Gram 9 Institut de Saint Louis 10 Columbia 11 Sombrero Galaxy 12 Bassoon 13 Boris Karloff 14 Protagoras 15 Paul Erdos 16 Diophantus 17 CG Langhans 18 Mesozoic 19 Meson 20 Lesbos 21 Nazarite 22 Giurgiu 23 Varna 24 Eisenhower 25 Speculaas

Monday, February 27, 2006

BH quiz #22

It's Trash week isn't it? I should really get those questions sorted, primped etc. Lest we forget tomorrow's crucial match against Allsorts and the written qualifying for Brain of London. I must admit, I quite like it when it gets hectic. It's when everything winds down and no major event is in sight that I get bored and sullen about such matters. Frenetic activity is the most pleasing and stimulating thing.

In other news here's another quiz, while I indulge in some serious brain-rest:

1 Founder of the travel book publishers that bear his name, who published his first book in 1936, a guide to Europe called Travel On the Continent - The Entertaining Annual?
2 Consisting of a spike and a hook that resembles a short-handled boat-hook, an ancus is used to goad which animals?
3 What hymn came about on Xmas Eve in 1818, when a Father Joseph Mohr asked his organist Franz Xavier Gruber to set a poem to music?
4 Also known for her work on the film version of Hair, which choreographer created the jazz ballets Raggedy Dances and The Bix Pieces during the seventies?
5 What body renowned for its renunciation of war was organised by Canon Dick Shepherd of St-Martin-in-the-Fields in 1936?
6 Who created the comic strip character Jane?
7 As featured in a Gluck opera and Euripides play, what was the name of the husband for whom Alcestis offered to give up her life so that he would never die?
8 What weight was originally intended to be exactly equal to the mass in a vacuum of one cubic cm of pure water at maximum density?
9 Madame de Maintenon founed which institute in 1686 for the purpose of educating the daughters of poverty-stricken gentlefolk?
10 Which country has undergone civil wars called the War of a Thousand Days and La Violencia?
11 Which galaxy is in the constellation Virgo ia edge-on to the Milky Way and has a large central bulge which may have inspired its name?
12 What musical instrument, with a range of three octaves, is called a fagotto in Italian, its name meaning a bunch of sticks?
13 Who voiced the Grinch in the much-loved (by Americans mainly) cartoon film How the Grinch Stole Christmas?
14 Considered to be the first Sophist, which philosopher is associated with the phrase "Man is the measure of all things" and whose promotion of agnosticism in Concerning the Gods resulted in his books being burned?
15 Which prolific Hungarian mathematician founded the field of discrete mathematics, thus paving the way for modern computer science, and often talked about The Book, an imaginary book in which God had written down the best and most elegant proofs for mathematical theorems?
16 Sometimes called "the father of algebra", which mathematician lived in Alexandria and wrote his most famous work Arithmetica in about 250, a work that comprised 13 Greek books and dealt with algebraic equations?
17 Built from 1789-93, who designed the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin?
18 The Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic periods make up which era?
19 Hideki Yukawa become the first Japanese person to ever win a Nobel, when he won the 1949 Prize for Physics for predicting the existence of which subatomic particle, a strongly interacting boson?
20 Mytilene is the capital of which island, the third largest Greek island and the seventh largest in the Mediterranean Sea?
21 Derived from the Hebrew for "consecrated" or "separated", what name was given to those like Samson in the Bible who were "holy unto the Lord" and had to keep themselves ritually unclean, thus pledging not to break certain rules until a vow was fulfilled?
22 First running on October 4, 1883, the original route of the Orient Express started in Paris and finished in which place in Romania?
23 What sea capital, the third largest Bulgarian city after Sofia and Plovdiv, was called Stalin between 1949 and1956?
24 Which US President gave his name to the doctrine that set out a commitment to send US troops to the Middle East to counter the threat of communism?
25 Cut into such images as ships, farmhouses and horses, which Dutch shortcrust biscuit is traditionally baked for St Nicholas's Eve on December 5 and derives its name from the Latin for 'mirror'?

Answers to BH quiz #21
1 Stafford Crips 2 Hinoki 3 E.ON 4 Ballantyne (Cashmere) 5 Barbra Streisand 6 Nucleotides 7 Louis Kahn 8 Dubai 9 Everything is Illuminated 10 Square Kilometre Array 11 Eye to the Telescope (KT Tunstall) 12 Undershaw 13 Martin Kippenberger 14 Rosicrucians 15 Vredefort 16 Bristol 17 Luther Burbank 18 Juneteenth 19 "The Weekend Starts Here" 20 Chaim Soutine 21 Arthur Honegger 22 World of Warcraft 23 Tlachtli 24 Barbara Millicent Roberts 25 New York Jets 26 A Scanner Darkly 27 Landsberg 28 Surimi 29 Two heads or a parasitic twin 30 United Grand Lodge of England 31 Olivo Barbieri 32 The Kahuna 33 Jean-Baptiste Chardin 34 Brentford 35 Denmark (her spouse was Christian VII) 36 Prodrome 37 El Laguito 38 Palatine 39 Hegel 40 Bordeaux 41 Old Tom Morris 42 Herbert Samuel 43 Formaldehyde 44 Hock 45 A Study in Scarlet 46 Taipan 47 Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honour (When Kelsey tries to put on some Washingtonian gravitas, you will have one of two spontaneous reactions: paralysing laughter or the kind of cringing that makes your skin crawl)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Only Pharoah Monche Tune I Have On My Laptop

So me and Chris H went back ... to that pub with the new guy. Last Monday night. The new guy who I've decided to rechristen Jambo - he looked like a sort of Jambo. And you know what? I can't say there has been a dip in professionalism. Jambo takes it seriously. I believe our new quizmaster has set himself the task of setting a more pleasing and interesting quiz. It's just a pity that I think it's a bit rubbish.

Jambo looks like a sort of suave Roma with longish greying locks; the kind of capricious solo-dude who flounces into town, takes up residency in a drinking establishment and then spends the rest of the time trying to sow his seed in females of all ages and sizes. Of course, I'm just going on a flight of fancy. Maybe I'm thinking a bit too much about the Speed episode of Father Ted. What else? Perhaps a Levellers fan who had finally taken his hair out of dreads, and learned to dress a bit better just by shopping at River Island instead of foraging for rags at the local tip, I suppose. Onto his QM MO: He doesn't just fly in and fly out like Whassisname. He drinks at the bar and converses with his fellow pub patrons long after he finishes the job. By the looks and sound of it, Jambo feels like he can build a warm rapport that will last for all time, so grateful are we for his quizmaster skills. You can imagine him before, brooding in the corner and waiting for his time to come, waiting for that wiry fella with his crappy quiz to shove off. That time has come. He wants to put his stamp on the quiz ab initio. There is physical evidence for this. Our answer papers are headed with two-words that leave us in no doubt: Jambo's Quiz. That told 'em! And us!

I did like his opening shot though - the picture round. Pretty straightforward. Nothing obscure. He's even put the Skeleton lady in. But the picture of a T-Rex? He missed a trick with an apatosaurus there, I reckon. Evidently, he doesn't have a predilection for sticking the less well known members of the Sex Pistols into the mix. So we get ten. It's always nice to win the first beer quiz, and in the end we do. Strange that we never used to.

We drop nine points and win by one. We do not figure 76 as the number that is a trombones, or the thing that links a bishop and two pieces of wood (I say clogs, the answer is mitre joint ... a mitre joint ... grrr), or that hardpaw is also called distemper in a dog and that the SAS wear beige berets. We also omit the Industrial zone from the four original areas in The Crystal Maze. And I spent so many hours of my youth watch people fall and get wet and make silly squealing sounds in search of the shiny glass testicles. However, I'm thinking that the only one I should have got is distemper because it was the only intelligent answer I proffered. The word arthritis was inscribed instead. Never mind. We have stood firm against the weekly Neighbours AND topical question too (dear God, no ... you're saying the Kennedys actually split up? When did that happen? I'm must have been busy ... with my life). Although I'm thinking Neighbours is the worst TV subject in a quiz in the entire world. For being such a huge vat of potential facts and yet being so utterly worthless and insignificant at the same time. A paradox. A paradox. A most ingenious paradox.

Jambo yaps so much that you think Chas 'n' Dave should write a song about him. Then a bulb goes off in your head. You realise he's also a stand-up comedian; an all-purpose entertainer who wants to tantalise you with facts and amusing bon mots spoken heartily into the microphone like:

Reacting to a team called First Lesbian Experience: "Surely, it should have been your second by now?"
Reacting to the wrong answer that suggests another name for the Public Gallery in the Commons: "The Spitting Gallery would make Prime Minister's Questions more interesting."

And some of the rules as printed on the answer sheet that said something along the lines of:
1 No jazz on the jukebox
3 If you want to dispute anything please go to www.forf*ckssakeitsonlyaquiz.com

Then there were the quips about "always having a question for the ladies" about the symbol for Do Not Drip-Dry and "always having one for the Northerners" (a Northern train station). Quite a wag. This guy does not read The Guardian as Whassisname so evidently did. He is a member of The Sun's congregation I guess. And probably owns an stunningly comprehensive video collection featuring the likes of Jethro and Roy Chubby Brown.

Now I envision the perfect career for Jambo: warm-up man. He could be no worse than the one who wreaked a terrible, terrible revenge for his spluttering career on the poor souls who comprised the audiences at my University Challenge recordings. The wraith of awful comedy echoes in my brain to this very day.

Ah, wraith. Which brings me back to the second beer quiz. It makes me wonder if one of the barwomen is actually Rogue from the X-Men and in glancing contact has drained all quiz knowledge from me during the short interval. Practically every answer produces the same thought process: "I should know that but don't and can't be bothered to think about it properly because the Littovel is already working its dizzy magic". Number of capsules in the London Eye? 48? Nope, 32. What sport uses the term "bedposts"? Polo? Nah, it's ten-pin bowling. For the first time in my quiz-life I forget that the Viscount comes above a Baron. To be honest I can't even conjure up the title Viscount, instead naming the other four and picking Earl. Viscount Althorp couldn't even help me in my hour of need. Embarrassing, I know. The face turns a nasty shade of scarlet at such indelicate times. Nor did our now weary minds yield the derivation of 'bootlegging'. It goes on like that, question after question. What's that word popping into my head? Retirement?

In the end we have got our lowest ever score at the George quiz. In the twenties, somewhere. I don't want to elaborate. I'm still narked over choosing straight-laced, dull-as-a-butter knife doctor Jack over dirty no-goodnik grubby guts Sawyer as the man voted sexiest character on TV's Lost. Sometimes you have to think with your id. Or libido, I'm not sure.

Thankfully, we realise that everyone was quite miffed by the questions too when we hear the QM's remark: "A lot of you found that very difficult indeed". As the QM, I thought he could have at least realised that when he wrote the bloody things. There's nothing sadder than a QM who doesn't know the potency of his question selections. I should know. I learnt my lesson with that pair about embroidery.

We actually haul ourselves into third equal position and lose the tie-break anyway (an appallingly over-ambitious guess of the length of The Vatican's borders ... I let watching the climax Eurotrip overrule all common sense).

Of course, the jackpot round is the only thing of any material and therefore ultimately satisfying worth and self-validation. Well not tonight. For shame. We fail to get a single jackpot question. But in my opinion, and looking at the size of this post it's quite a big one, jackpot q's should not be: "What is larger: Arizona or Italy?" Then I realised that his j-q's displayed a tragic paucity of quiz-setting imagination: what are the mascots of the Turin Winter Olympics and something about a French-sounding mountain which he says is the tallest in Italy and is not Mont Blanc? (I thought was the Il Gran Sasso d'Italia). Yes, it's Jambo's fault. Completely and utterly. We quizzers are blameless. And I've never been to Italy. So there.

Yet you can deduct a pattern in the setting. The most trivial of trivia areas: Monopoly properties, train stations, sporting terms, peer titles, quaint-sounding occupations, cleaning symbols, angles in maths, ages on entering things, etc etc. It is the paper-thin stuff that some people think is always asked in quizzes because they are meaningless rituals that merely pass the time in a public house. Stuff that the most hardcore and academic of us quizzers view with the same dual disdain and horror one might view a dollop of dog doo-doo on the tip of our shoes. Stuff that has been gleaned from a bloody quiz reference book like Pear's, or even, God forbid, another quiz book, where you would expect to find such stultifying questions that undoubtedly destroy brain activity. I haven't read a crappy pub quiz book ... since 1998.

And that's the thing, the crux of the matter: it's a pub quiz, what did I expect? Challenging posers analysing the legacy of Marxist philosophers? Or questions about bodgers (whether the mash potato-loving puppet or the chair-makers)? And I have to admit, I don't do many pub quizzes. I need to wise up.

But wait, time for more pathetic excuses, it wasn't like shooting sardines in a tin can was it? This was a "difficult-easy" quiz. It wasn't a comparatively hoity-toity (though not in my opinion) intellectual one like the Prince of Wales in Highgate, nor a lowest commond denominator one like you might find in a pub dunked in loud primary colours and lit like a high-tech bordello, and nor was it a pleasantly easy, sometimes stimulating one like the Barley Mow.

It played to all the trivia chestnut areas, but went for the hardest option every time. So you get an annoying pub quiz where guessing by one and all is inevitable. It becomes a lottery, albeit one with far better chances of winning that the one provided by Camelot. I much preferred the old chap, who was unkindly commemorated in the name of one of the teams - The Previous Quizmaster Is A Sex Tourist. There's no need for that sort of spurious slanderous speculation. Not when he gave us nice questions on dub MCs and Arnold Wesker.

Wrapping it up, maybe: our guest team members this week were Cat and Sam. They contributed at least two good, stand-alone answers I can recall right now at 4 in the morning as I feel a vicious migraine slowly overcome me (mmm, Summer Fruits Resource Shake ...medicinal): what train station serves Warrington and what links Muswell Hill, Waterloo and Other People's Lives? (Bank Quay and Ray Davies). On a brighter note, I was pleased that my own skills of deduction overruled my total rubbishness at remembering football team's nicknames; what football team is nicknamed The Brewers? ("Think of a town that brews beer and (in the QM's masterly words) "had been doing very well but have had a bit of droop lately" ... you see what he did ... brewers and droop ... he should be penning material for Jim Bowen ... so what about Burton Albion ... I saw that tabloid headline about the FA Cup "BURTON CURTAIN" ... yeah"). A small victory. I bet you that tomorrow I won't be able to remember which team are nicknamed The Bees despite researching a question about them the day before. Cat deemed the quiz "a little evil" and she's a little bit right. It's actually banally evil. Frustrating and evil. Unthinkingly evil. Silly evil. The kind of evil that drives people into the arms of more accommodating pub quizzes and makes me think of footnotes like ... Cat and Sam recalled last doing a pub quiz with a son of John Peel's. Was he good? Hmm. Apparently, he phoned up his girlfriend to tell him something about a keyboard layout. Therefore he cheated in brazen fashion. Tsk. The mobile phones and pub quiz. A conflict for the modern age. If they got into a fight, I don't think the pub quiz would stand a chance would it? The mobile phone would probably turn up with some cool, high-tech weaponry and use its speed to put the pub quiz out of its drink-sodden misery. I have to say though that quizzes have an odd effect on the brain chemistry of many individuals. Ultra-competitiveness is one symptom.

And you know, having written this, I am well aware that these scribblings of a sleep-deprived wise-ass may give Jambo good cause to stick a pitchfork in the most tender parts of my body. In that case here's a personal plea: why not try and change my mind. Write a better quiz. Please? Better than spattering my guts all over the pavement with a rusty hook, whilst you laugh and inhale the glorious, life-enhancing blood vapours that are rising from my twitching carcass, downed in the act of much expected vegeance. We are all civilised people, up to a point. And it's only a quiz!!!

So will I go back? Course I will. If, of course, I can assure myself that he will never ever read this and come at me with wildly milling arms and many swishing shiny blades.

Don't expect me to ever subject a pub quiz to such a searching, long-winded and possibly unhinged analysis ever again. It's a certain time of night and I can't get any sleep. This is my way of fighting the periodic bouts of insomnia. So write and write I will ... into the morning light. Good night.

BH quiz #21

An almighty bumper edition of the BH quiz with some bloody huge questions since I decided to empty my latest notebook of all the interest-piquing trivia jottings that need transcription and bulking out with extra factage. Man, it didn't seem like I wrote 47 questions. Please accept my apologies if they make your eyes ache and your mind wander on to what you might be having for tomorrow's dinner.

I could be gaining a predilection for huge things. It may be something to do with Robin dropping by the flat with his spare copy of Rising Up, Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means by William T Vollmann. Some thoughts?!! Merely some? This 17-year magnum opus labour of love huge giant doorstop, which I can't even lift all at once, is seven-volumes and 3,352 pages gigantic. Thus I suspect it may teach me something. Or at least give me the chance to write a blog just dedicated to read it (book-specific blogs are becoming all the rage). Vollmann is after all the total literary genius and lover of dangerous things, and a prodigious word factory non-pareil. Even if his photos make him look like Stephen King's nerdy and thicky brother (those glasses - ack!). He certainly does not conform to the appearance of someone who has smoked crack for the purpose of befriending prositutes and extracting choice material. Nor does he look like someone who travelled to war zones like Somalia or went to Afghanistan during the Soviet Invasion. Yet he's done all of that and written some 60 books. Undying respect is due.

The weird thing is that Robin ordered one set from Amazon but ended up getting two. Robin may be a very lucky man. Unless, of course, they realise their mistake and set the Bezos bloodhounds on his trail. I have been pondering this since it is no longer being offered for new on the site. Instead, the cheapest used copy currently goes for £367.34. And since Robin has gave it to me gratis - a gesture I'm only starting to appreciate as I type these words - the complete guilt of such a serendipitous addition to my library demands I give him some money. So I gave into the guilt. I offered him £15. Please, no comments about my Bill Gatesian generosity. And no, I haven't though of sticking it on Marketplace for £250. I have morals. Can't exactly name them, but I assure you that reside in me and guide me ... most of the time.

Oh, and if you want to get the authorised abridgement, don't expect a pleasant and accommodating length either. It is 752 pages long. I suppose that Vollmann didn't want to give up too much. Any small mercies? The print isn't tiny.

Here's two random links I like the look of. One is on sauces and the other is the Wikipedia page on the father and mother of something and so forth. I mean, of course, stuff like nuclear physics (Ernest Rutherford) and social work (Jane Addams), not chestnuts concerning whichever off-their-rocker musician fathered Moon Unit and Chastity.

Did you know Philip Abelson is the father of the nuclear submarine (yeah, cheers for that Phil, I bet you gave Thatcher the horn when she was PM), Edward Bernays fathered PR or spin (well done, mate, well done; the world thanks you for giving us the likes of Alastair Campbell and a legion of White House press puppets, or 'spokesmen', spouting daily geysers of deranged and maddening nonsense), and James Busby birthed the Australian wine industry, possibly after he had run out of both VB and money, and had some grapes growing in his yard he thought could be somehow made into a beverage containing alcohol. Do you reckon it's safe to say we will never get a question on Busby? Knowing quiz-setters... hmm.

Anyway, I accord this material vital status. As Sven Goran Erikksson, Daniel Amokachi and any number of foreigners say (and no native English speakers): "For sure".

(PS When I mentioned yesterday that I had seen actor David Warner, I meant in the flesh. He was walking up Regent Street at about 11.30am. That's for all you nutty Titanic fans who might want to stake out a spot on future Saturdays and give him a clip on the ear for being so nasty to poor Leo.)

1 Peggy Appiah, who wrote illustrated books such as 1966's Ananse the Spider that retold Ashanti stories and died in February 2006, was the daughter of which Labour politician?
2 Known as white cedar elsewhere, what is Japan's most prized softwood and is the only wood used to build Japanese emperors' coffins?
3 Which German energy corporation will sponsor the FA Cup during the 2006/7 season?
4 Famed for its knitted diamond-patterned and checked-clothes, which factory in the town of Innerleithen was founded in 1821 and was bought by the Italian company Charme Investments?
5 Which actress was so ashamed of her topless scene in the 1970 film The Owl and the Pussycat that she bought up all the prints and had it deleted?
6 With reference to DNA, there are five kinds of what that are commonly referred to by the identity of their bases and which are adenine, thymine, uracil, cytosine and guanine?
7 Known for designing such buildings as the Salk Institute Building in La Jolla, California, which American architect, then a bankrupt, died in the men's toilet of Penn Station in New York City in 1974?
8 A Giorgio Armani hotel and Palazzo Versace are to be built in which rapidly growing city?
9 "My legal name is Alexander Perchov" is the first line of which 2002 novel?
10 Much coveted by a number of countries, what mooted astronomy project has the acronym SKA?
11 The title of which recent million-selling album is a tribute to its maker's physicist father who used to take her to the observatory at St Andrews University?
12 Located in Hindhead, Surrey, a place styled "the Little Switzerland of Surrey" in the novel Arthur and George, what was the name of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's home in which he took up residence in 1897?
13 Which bad boy of German art, who died of cancer aged 44, is known for such installations as Heavy Heart, which featured a skip filled with the fragments of 51 paintings, The Happy End of Franz Kafka's "Amerika", which arranged 40 tables and 80 chairs in various positions, and the life-sized sculpture that was partly titled ...Into the Corner, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself?
14 Perhaps founded in 1407 by a German pilgrim whose surname became its name or founded in 46 AD when an Alexandrian gnostic called Ormus was converted, along with six followers, by Mark, which Christian alchemists of the Rhenish palatinate anonymously published the order's first manifesto Fama Fraternitatis in 1614 in the German city of Kassel?
15 Where in South Africa is the site of the largest meteorite crater in the world, some 168 miles in diameter?
16 What did John Betjeman call "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England"?
17 Which American horitculturist and agricultural science pioneer (1849-1926) developed more than 800 strains of plants over a 55-year career, producing such varieties as the Shasta daisy and the Freestone peach, also breeding the white blackberry and nectarine?
18 The oldest known celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the US, which official state holiday in Texas dates back to the 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and announced the enslaved were now free, and is so named because the freed people didn't know which day it exactly was?
19 What four-word slogan of the sixties pop music show Ready Steady Go was its original title?
20 Which artist, born in what is now Belarus in 1893, horrified his Parisian neighbours by keeping the carcass that he would paint in Carcass of Beef in his studio? One of his paintings recently fetched £7.8 million at Christie's.
21 Which Swiss-French composer married the pianist and teacher (of such figures as Pierre Boulez) Andree Vaurabourg in 1926 on the condition that they live in separate apartments because he needed space to compose?
22 Blizzard Entertainment the makers of which massive multiplayer online role-playing game, the fourth in its series and centred on the online world of Azeroth, recently stoked controversy by banning (then rescinding the ban) a gay guild called Oz?
23 Claimed by some to be over 3000 years old and an ancestor of bastketball, what favoured game of the Aztecs saw players put a rubber ball through a stone hoop and was a ritual honouring the game's twin deities Amapan and Uappatzin, as well Huitzilopochtli, the god of war?
24 What is the full name of Barbie, the toy doll?
25 In the 1980 film, Flash Gordon was quarterback for which American football team?
26 The mindbending futuristic drug Substance D and its effects on Bob Actor feature in which sci-fi novel and forthcoming film?
27 In which Munich prison did Hitler write Mein Kampf?
28 Meaning "to mash meat", what ancient Japanese invention involves the blanching and processing of fish protein, the modern day results being seen in crabsticks?
29 If you are born with craniopagus parasiticus, what do you have?
30 Known by the acronym UGLE, which body regulates Freemasonry in this country?
31 Which Milanese photographer is known for his Site Specific projects in which he takes pictures of familiar cities and landmarks from helicopters and makes them look like model miniatures?
32 As used by Ricky Ponting, which Kookaburra bat design has been declared illegal due to the graphite strip on the back that bears the makers' logo?
33 Seen as the creator of the modern still life and known for such works as Scouring Maid (1738) and The Benediction (1740), legend states that which Frenchman's ability to make his paintings appear so real began when he decided to sit in front of a dead rabbit and just paint what he saw?
34 Greg Dyke is the chairman of which football club?
35 The breakdown of George III's youngest sister Princess Caroline's marriage to which country's monarch almost caused war with Great Britain?
36 From the Latin for "precursor", what name is given in medicine to an early symptom indicating the onset of an attack or disease?
37 Producers of Cohiba cigars since the late 1960s, which Havana cigar factory is considered the most famous of them all, legend having it that Che Guevara announced that a post-revolution cigar be created, so that the cigar-rolling school that was founded in 1961 was converted for such a purpose?
38 The centermost of the seven hills of Rome, which hill was the first to be built on and was the mythological site of the discovery of Romulus and Remus by the shepherd Faustulus?
39 Born in Stuttgart in 1770, which philosopher stated in 1821 that "Education is the art of making man ethical"?
40 Apparently the most popular team in France, which football team plays at the Stade Gerland?
41 Born in 1821, which pioneer of professional golf came second in the first ever Open Championship in 1860 and won it the following year, and was Prestwick Golf Club's "Keeper of the Green, Ball and Club Maker" for many years?
42 The great uncle of scientist Rosalind Franklin, who was the first practicing Jew to serve in the British cabinet when he became Home Secretary in 1916?
43 The simplest aldehyde, what chemical compound has the formula H2CO and was first synthesised by Russian chemist Aleksandr Butlerov in 1859, though it was correctly identified by August von Hoffman in 1867?
44 What cut of meat, especially ham, comes from the front or hind leg directly above the foot?
45 A Tangled Skein was the original name of which story, written in 1886?
46 Also the name of snake with species called Coastal and Western, what term for a foreign businessman in China is derived from the Mandarin for "big class"?
47 Starring Aidan Quinn in the title role, in which film can you see Frasier star Kelsey Grammer play US president George Washington?

Answers to BH quiz #20
1. Glycine 2. Jean Christophe Novelli (Did he do The Games? Oh, why oh why... did you do it for the ladies Jean?) 3. Georg Lukacs 4. Themis 5. James T Russell 6. Obscure 7. Twilight Zone 8. Natchez 9. 60 10. Climbs 11. James E Sullivan award 12. Argentina 13. Roach 14. Elizabeth Bonaventure 15 James IV (at Flodden) 16. Gresford Colliery 17. Difference Engine 18. Erich von Stalhein 19. Zoser or Djoser 20. Kielbasa

Remembrance of President's Cup Friendlies Past

It is a Sunday off from President's Cup, but here's a friendly I wrote from this season anyway. It was the hardest I have set so far, with a now infamous embroidery pair. This is how Stainer summed it up since I was away at Camber Sands 'enjoying' the delights of such artists as Jaga Jazzist, Diamanda Galas, Damo Suzuki and The Mars Volta at the All Tomorrow's Parties music festival: "Scores 27-23 in your game. Too hard and missing several questions!" Whoops, this has since been rectified, of course.

President's Cup, 'just for fun, he says' friendly quiz 4/12/05

Round 1
1a Tony Meehan, who died in November of head injuries sustained in a fall, was the drummer for which chart-topping band of the 1960s?
1b In the X-Men films and comics, which character's real name is Logan?
2a Which Mitford sister wrote the investigation into the funeral business that was 1963's The American Way of Death?
2b Which Mitford sister married the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley?
3a In 1999, the Chechen warlords Shamil Basayev and Khattab launched an armed rebellion in which republic of the Russian Federation that has Makhachkala for its capital?
3b Jim Capaldi, who died in January of stomach cancer, was the drummer for which chart-topping band of the 1960s?
4a In the X-Men films and comics, which character's real name is Eric Lensherr?
4b In which Republic of the Russian Federation, home to refugee camps created by the Chechnyan war, has Magas for its capital and has Mount Stolovaya as its highest point? INGUSHETIA

Round 2
1a How many grains go into a scruple?
1b How many yards are there in a chain?
2a Which French Romantic composer is known for his Grande Messe des morts Requiem of 1837, with its requirements for resources such as four antiphonal brass choirs?
2b Which German Romantic composer is known for his large choral work of 1868, A German Requiem?
3a The industrial chemical Downs process manufactures which element?
3b Which son of Oedipus united the Seven Against Thebes in an attempt to recover his native city from his younger brother Eteocles?
4a The Seven Against Thebes came from which city, whose name sounds like a many-eyed mythical giant?
4b The Deacon process produces which chemical element?

Round 3
1a Which figure of the American West was shot in the back by Jack McCall on August 2, 1876? WILD BILL HICKOK or JAMES BUTLER HICKOK
1b Wild Bill Hickok was killed in Deadwood, then part of Indian territory. In which US state is Deadwood?
2a Haruo Nakajima is famous in the movie world for playing which monster twelve times? GODZILLA
2b Which peak in the Peruvian Andes is the setting for the events of the Joe Simpson book Touching the Void?
3a What handicraft can be described as "free" or "counted-thread" in a classification system that divides styles according to the relationship of stitch placement to the fabric?
3b Name either of the styles of the system that classifies embroidery according to whether the design is stitched on top of or through the foundation fabric.
4a What extinct volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes is the point on the earth's surface that is furthest from the centre?
4b The Englishman Doug Bradley has played which pale horror movie villain and angel of suffering, who was originally created by novelist Clive Barker, eight times?

Round 4
1a Abnormal smoothness of the tongue is a sign of deficiency of which B complex vitamin that prevents pernicious anaemia?
1b German coach Raimund Bethge suffered multiple head injuries when he was hit at high speed during training in the Alpine village of Cesana this week. What is his Winter Olympic sport?
2a There is only one body of water in the Lake District national park with the word Lake in it. What is it called?
2b Which Prime Minister's first constituency was Oldham from 1900-1906 and his last Woodford?
3a Which Prime Minister began as a Tory MP for Newark from 1832-1845 before finishing in Midlothian from 1880-1895?
3b Tryptophan can be converted to which B complex vitamin whose deficiency causes pellagra?
4a The German luge coach Sepp Lenz was also hit and seriously injured and lost his left leg below the knee in the run up to which year's Winter Olympics?
4b The twin of Crummock Water, what 2 km long by 500m wide lake in the northwestern sector of the Lake District is situated towards the head of the valley of the river Cocker and is surrounded by fells such as the High Stile range to the southeast and Robinson to the north?

Round 5
1a Which Polish footballer, who later joined Juventus, scored a hat trick in a second phase match of the 1982 World Cup against Belguim but missed the semi-final against Italy due to suspension?
1b Which Star Trek actor, who recently announced he was gay, wrote the autobiography To the Stars?
2a Formed in 1965, which British band with a one-word moniker were originally called Garden Wall, but were renamed two years later by Jonathan King?
2b Which USSR and Dynamo Kiev player beat Gary Lineker to the European Footballer of the Year award in 1986 and also scored a hat trick in the same year's World Cup against Belguim?
3a Which English novelist wrote the Sword of Honour trilogy?
3b Which American novelist wrote the Foundation Trilogy?
4a What name did Leonard Nimoy give to the sequel to his autobiography I Am Not Spock?
4b Formed in 1969, which British group with a two-word moniker were named by an agent from the Apple record company as a pun on their colour and style?

Round 6
1a The Sally Lunn cake was named after a legendary lady from which city?
1b In ballet, what term describes a leap from one foot to another?
2a Sayuri Nitta is the title character of which Arthur Golden novel and forthcoming film?
2b What Northumberland fruit loaf gets its name from the sound it makes as it cooks?
3a In a British place name what does the suffix 'dean' mean?
3b Jonathan Safran Foer is the lead character of which Jonathan Safran Foer novel and recent movie release?
4a In ballet, what term describes a leap while striking heels together?
4b In a British place name what does the suffix 'holme' mean?

Round 7
1a Which Indian scored 175 against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup after his side had slumped to 17 for 5, and which was the first ever century scored by an Indian in one day cricket?
1b In Ambrose Bierce's book The Devil's Dictionary what was defined as "one skilled in circumvention of the law"?
2a Which TV sci-fi series began with the brainwashed freedom fighter hero being placed on a Federation ship destined for the prison planet Cygnus Alpha?
2b Who played Roj Blake in Blake's 7?
3a In The Devil's Dictionary, what is defined as "the state or condition of a community, consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two"?
3b Robert de Mellent, 1st Earl of Gloucester and a prominent royal bastard, was the son of which Angevin King?
4a Charles and James Beauclerk were two of the nine bastards of which King, who was succeeded by his brother?
4b Which Zimbabwe player scored 69 not out and took 4 for 42 in their shock victory over Australia by 13 runs at the 1983 World Cup?

Round 8
1a What US state gives its name to a cockail that is three parts gin and one part yellow Chartreuse?
1b Which north African country's flag is red with a green pentagram representing the Seal of Solomon in the centre?
2a Built in AD 312, what triumphal arch in Rome commemorates an emperor's victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge?
2b Built after the titular emperor's death in 81 AD, which triumphal arch in Rome commemorates his and Vespasian's conquest of Jerusalem?
3a Announced in December 2002, who has headed up the Pensions Commission and given his name to the resulting report?
3b What American heavyweight champion's surname is a cocktail comprising calvados, gin, Pernod and grenadine?
4a Which north African country's flag has horizontal bands of red, white and black, with an eagle in the centre?
4b The Turner Report has recommended that the state retirement age be increased to what?

1 Which German composed the operas Armide and Orfeo ed Euridice?
2 What is the name of George Orwell's memoir of the Spanish Civil War?
3 Priests in which religion are called houngans or mambos?
4 The village of Adamstown is the capital of which Pacific island?
5 Which act of 1534 recognised Henry VIII as head of the church of England?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

BH quiz #20

Having spent the day planning to go to a party yesterday, I was politely informed that it was not happening until tomorrow, i.e. today - Saturday. My mistake. But one averted. Imagine: me turning up to a party a day early. How catastrophic and funny. Having the evening freed up I got down to sorting the trash buzzer tournament into twenties. Little did I know it would take me eight hours. Eight hours: from half past four to twenty to two. From Noel to Russell Brand releasing his 'brand' of frenetic and homophobic stand-up japes at the NME SHOCKWAVES awards.

I was so incredibly tired by the whole thing (moving, cutting, Prittsticking, scratching my head furiously and so on), only interrupted by a visit to the Food and Wine shop where I bought bread, Kettle chips, a Cornetto, and some Dairylea Dunkers, for several inexplicable reasons, possibly to do with the fact I was looking for some joys that were far more short term than selecting, say fruit and vegetables, vitamins and light, skip to the end ... that I was too mentally tired to actually fall asleep straight away. Next time I set a buzzer quiz tournament I'm not going to write questions in huge subject swathes, thus producing frustrating surplus, but instead writing them into predetermined slots. We live and we learn.

I gave up trying to sleep and instead watched the first three episodes of yet another prematurely axed teen outsiders dramedy Freaks and Geeks on DVD. The My So-Called Life for people who went to six form three or four years after I did. It was brilliant but excruciating and painful to watch due to almost physically going through all the adolescent angst and trying to fit in all over again. The old psychic scars still throb. Now they throb and hum just a little bit more. Launched the careers of Linda Cardellini (ER, Brokeback Mountain), James Franco (Spiderman) and Seth Rogen (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) among many others, back in 1999-2000, doncha know. Which come to think of it, it is six years ago. Blimey. I actually just saw David Warner, who you might know from here or here. Or here. He looked white and windswept. I mean, his hair was very white.

Anyway back to the trash: rereading, proofing and replacing questions for subject spread etc. Soon it will end, and perhaps start again.

1. The simplest of the 20 standard or proteinogenic amino acids, what is the only internal amino acid of a collagen helix?
2. Which Frenchman is the chef and owner of The White Horse in Harpenden?
3. Which Hungarian Marxist philosopher wrote History and Class Consciousness (1923)?
4. Which Titan, daughter of Uranus and Gaia, was the personification of law and order?
5. Who invented the compact disc in 1970?
6. What record label did Brian Eno start in 1975?
7. Rod Serling created which iconic TV show in 1959?
8. Named from the Choctaw for 'warrior of the high bluff', which American Indian people lived along the Gulf of Mexico and lower Mississippi river valley from AD700 to 1730s, their language Muskogean being now extinct?
9. How many members comprise the Welsh Assembly?
10. What on the Tour de France are classified into five somewhat arbitrary categories: 1, 2, 3, 4 and Hors (above)?
11. Donald Budge was the first tennis player to be given what prize: America's top amateur athlete award?
12. Which country's national airline is Aerolineas?
13. What fish is Rutilus rutilus?
14. What was Sir Francis Drake's flagship in the raid on Cadiz that "singed" the King of Spain's beard?
15. Which Scottish king was the last British monarch to die in battle?
16. In which 1934 disaster were 262 miners killed?
17. What name was given to Charles Babbage's first automatic calculator?
18. Which despicable Hun was the arch enemy of Biggles and had a name that sounded suspiciously like a major film director's?
19. Imhotep was the reputed physician, architect and vizier (chief adviser) of which Third Dynasty king?
20. Beloved food of Heather Graham's guest character Molly on the sitcom Scrubs, what is the generic Polish word for sausage?

Answers to BH quiz #19
1 Getulio Vargas 2 Luo Guanzhong 3 Silk Stockings 4 Baudelaire 5 Tristan da Cunha 6 John Potter 7 Bonzo 8 Pius IX 9 Christian X 10 Barmecide (Barmecidal) 11 Cabriole 12 Lysis 13 Jean Honore Fragonard 14 Henri Bergson 15 Fiametta 16 Tang 17 Shiloh 18 HMS Leopard 19 Charles the Bold 20 Robert Delaunay 21 7UP 22 Andres Segovia 23 Simurg 24 Fra Angelico 25 Raw meat 26 Homo erectus 27 Sagittarius 28 Brocket Hall 29 Puri 30 Musk deer/ Chinese Water deer

Friday, February 24, 2006

BH quiz #19

Have I been doing this for 19 days? It seems so. I do feel different, in that I'm far more tired yet feeling far more satisfied, since it stops me from watching Doctors on BBC1, the curse of all freelance habitues of Grub Street (nothing happens on it, I don't know any character names, but still I watch it). Anyway, welcome to all my new readers, this blog is about quizzes and the British quiz scene, basically. I ramble a lot as well. Bully for you.

Not sure, if I'll post again today ... hmm ... I really have to get on with sorting the trash tourney into twenties and will do so soon. If not soon, then right now, not later. And I certainly shan't start tomorrow.

The following quiz questions are from a little test I tried three years ago. I learnt 2000 testing questions for a control, then I would learn another 2000 while chugging down handfuls of a supposedly memory-enhancing substance called lemon balm. I did the questions, but never really carried my experiment through to its conclusion and I now think I may as well have gone into my garden and started eating some random shrubs. If I had a garden that is.

1 Which Brazilian overthrew the Republic in 1930 and in 1937 set up a totalitarian, pro-fascist state known as the Estado Novo, but was ousted by a military coup in 1945, returned as president in 1951, but committed suicide in 1954?
2. Which Chinese novelist of the 14th century is credited with writing such popular tales as The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and editing The Water Margin (or Outlaws of the Marshes), the latter a favourite of Mao Zedong?
3 The 1939 Ernst Lubitsch film Ninotchka was made into what 1957 musical?
4 Which French poet wrote the autobiographical novel La Fanfarlo in 1847?
5 Discovered in 1506 which four-island colony includes Gough, Inaccessible and Nightingale, and were named after the Portugese admiral who found them?
6 Which Archbishop of Canterbury of the 18th century published Antiquities of Greece or Archaeologia Graeca?
7 Though its name was invented by Captain Bruce Ingram, editor of The Sketch, it was George E Studdy who created which comically shaped puppy who first appeared on November 8, 1922?
8 Born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, who was the longest reigning ever Pope (over 31 years)?
9 What Danish King was prisoner of the Nazis in Copenhagen from 1942-45?
10 In history the name of a family who attained great power under the Abbasid caliphs, what wealthy Persian nobleman in The Arabian Nights served a beggar a feast of imaginary food and gives his name to the adjective for ‘seemingly plentiful’?
11 Literally from the French for 'caper' from its resemblance to the foreleg of a capering animal what word describes a chair leg of an 18th century style where it curves outwards near the top and then inwards to an ornamental foot?
12 From the Greek "to separate", what term describes the gradual destruction of bacteria by an antibody and the gradual lessening of the severity of a symptom or disease?
13 The son of a glover, who painted The Progress of Love in 1770 for Madame du Barry and on fleeing Paris during the French revolution ended up at the house of his friend Maubert at Grasse which he decorated with panels entitled Roman d'amour de la jeunesse?
14 Which French philosopher, who called time ‘duration’ and said it could not be analysed as a set of moments but is instead unitary, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1927?
15 When Boccaccio lived in Naples 1328 – 41, he fell in love with which unfaithful woman, the inspiration of his early poetry?
16 Successors of the Sui, the reign of which Chinese dynasty from 618-906AD saw the invention of gunpowder and printing?
17 Sharing its name with a famous 19th century battle, what city of Samaria (now in Jordan), was where Hannah brought her son Samuel to dedicate him to God in the temple when Eli was priest of the Ark of the Covenant, and was the traditional sanctuary of the Ark until the Philistines destroyed the city and captured the Ark in the mid-11th century BC?
18 In 1807 which British ship enraged the US by taking deserters from the USS Chesapeake?
19 Known as 'the Terrible' to his detractors and famed for his sole quality of blind bravery, which Burgundy ruler died fighting the Swiss at the battle of Nancy in 1477?
20 A later costume designer for the Madrid Opera, which French artist’s work Windows (1912) is believed to be the first Cubist painting in colour?
21 Invented in Missouri in 1920 by Mr Griggs in 1920, what popular soft drink was originally called Howdy?
22 Which musician became Marquis of Salobrena in 1981?
23 From the Persian for ‘eagle bird’, what enormous fabulous bird of Persian mythology had the ability to think and speak, and was capable of carrying an elephant or camel?
24 The monastery of San Marco in Florence is the museum of which artist, where he produced devotional frescoes in 50 of the cells, and who is often and inaccurately termed "Fiesole" which is merely the name of the town where he first took vows?
25 What does an omophagic creature eat?
26 What ‘discoverer’ of fire was uncovered by Eugene Dubois on Java and was a hominid living contemporarily with homo habilis, and whose modern species name was initially proposed by Ernst Mayr in order to unify the classification of Asian fossils?
27 Rukbat is the brightest star in which constellation that also contains the Lagoon, Triffid and Horseshoe Nebulae?
28 Built to designs by James Paine for Sir Matthew Lamb c.1760, which building in Hertfordshire is famous for being the home of Palmerston and Melbourne?
29 Which town in Orissa, India is famous for its Jaggannath temple and the associated juggernaut, a statue of Krishna which is annually taken in procession on a larger vehicle, as well as the annual Ratha Yatra or 'Festival of Chariots'?
30 Which two breeds of deer do not have antlers?

Answers to BH #18
1. Lobuk 2. Sardinia 3. Claes Oldenburg 4. Pancrator 5. Juan de Pareja 6. Nicola and Giovanni Pisano 7. Camille Pissarro 8. Admiral Keppel 9. The Wanderers 10. Naum Gabo (born Naum Pevsner) 11. Jan van Eyck 12. Dosso Dossi 13. Donatello 14. David Hockney 15. Augustus John 16. Donald Judd 17. Woman Holding a Vase 18. Piero della Francesca 19. Louis Francois Roubillac 20. Scumbling 21. Décollage (opposite of collage) 22. Stuart Davis

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Exile from the George

Last week I had the rare honour of doing a pub quiz with a bunch of fellow UC Alumni (not that BH lot) including three captains. Nick and Jonathan (Warwick), Ivan (UCL) and Rich (Bristol) all joined me at a pub quiz (we are joined in the quizzing-and-journo nexus). I had said: "You know we've all been on University Challenge"; only to be rightly rebuked: "I think we should keep that quiet".

Nick, Rich and I had been to a preview of the film Hard Candy (probably out in June) which is basically (putting my film critic hat on) "Little Red Riding Hood rewritten as an anti-paedophile diatribe by Dawson's Creek and Scream writer Kevin Williamson". It was provocative, but cold. The 14-year-old girl, who is naturally almost 20 in real life, looked like an elfin boy with a six-pack. Euhh. Not that I want underage film teenagers to be sexy, m'kay? She just annoyed the hell out of me. But that was an improvement on the beginning when I thought it looked like a slightly disturbing video for the new BMW that Gus Van Sant had a hand in directing. The one saving grace was the line: "I fucking hate Goldfrapp!" Seen in context it is quite a doozy.

So what happens when three UC quarter-finalists, traumatised by the lingering pain of crushing defeat (or is that just me?), are free slightly after eight o'clock. It doesn't take a leap of the imagination to say a strip-pub like The Griffin, but, no really, we did the quiz. After we had walked past it for about ten minutes, that is. I have a real problem with East London geography even when I have an A-Z in front of me.

It was a nice little pub on Curtain Road. Cosy and brown. We had randomly chanced upon it in the excellent Quizlist website, more because it was the only one that started at nine and was in central-ish London. And we couldn't be bothered to phone any others. As a result I had expected the worse.

The thing is stupid pub quizzes do my head in. I appreciate the need to have a majoroity of easy questions to quell the punters' ire, but there must be a fair share of the hard stuff (or at least, say, 20%). I've got so attached to the George in Dalston with the good quota of questions that provoked sheer befuddlement in me, that the passing of its much-loved incarnation, has left me searching for another. That isn't the Prince of Wales on a Tuesday, or anywhere else on a Tuesday. Tuesday night is league night. Nothing can change that. Except for summer and the lack of a league to fill it. So when the first picture answer was read out - "William H Macy" - and it was quite plainly Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Truman Capote I could have thrown a chair. Somewhere. But that was a false alarm, thank God. The wail of unified outrage put everything right and the lady quizmaster obliged by rescinding what she said, using the old excuse "I didn't write the questions!". Otherwise, there might have been a riot.

The questions were generally okay, if a bit easy. For example: who was the first Labour Chancellor to give a Budget speech in the 1990s? Who was the first president of South Africa? Which US president was a peanut farmer? And such hard chestnuts, if there are such a thing, as what occupation did Al Capone have on his business card? (Used furniture dealer).

We came slightly unstuck on such treacley subjects as: Is Desmond Lynam older than Paul McCartney? (Macca as Rich said, not Des as I had written down) How many eyelids does an ostrich have? (four or none we thought, we said none, it was four) How did some fella who played Tarzan give up the role, unintentionally? (Mauled by an elephant apparently), and also Jarvis Cocker supporting Sheffield Wednesday not United, as Sean Bean does. We didn't bother arguing that CREEP was the Committee not the Campaign to re-elect President Richard Nixon. It didn't look like it would do much good. The quiz looked so familiar. It used the same formula as the George (see previous post) but with one beer quiz and one jackpot round. It had the all the dreaded varieties of Littovel. In fact, it probably has the same owners.

In the end we won by five points and even got Peter Gabriel's and Kevin Keegan's ages (56 and 55) on the button. The guys marking our paper, I believe their names were Matt and Stuart, were overheard as saying: "This is fucking taking the piss", when they got to those two tie-break questions. But this gave us little satisfaction when we found out that they had won the £38 jackpot, correctly answering that Jeffrey Archer became the youngest ever member of the GLC when he joined in 1969. Feeling we had little other option, due to our deficiency of knowledge about local politics in the 60s, we put Ken Livingstone. "Will no one knock them off their perch?" the quizlady asked in a manner edging towards the rhetorical. Give me a few more weeks, and we shall find out. So we got the free drinks, and I got my celebratory rubbish brandy (which I didn't even want to drink in the end). It's the money though that matters. Innit? I left stumbling a little less than usual, but still stumbling. Bloody Littovel

In conclusion: a nice little quiz, but hardly the kind that will inspire complete fealty in those who do it. Good company though.

BH quiz #18

What is this? I mean it, this? I can't check my email. It forms the base for every day web-surfing operations, which means I keep on coming back to it every twenty minutes. Yes, when somebody remarked it was like going outside to check your mailbox 27 times a day, he was vaguely right, except, of course, you do not have to put any clothes on, expose your body to the frigid February air or indulge in the slightest physical exercise involving your legs.

I've been pondering several things in the flat toilet today. There is a framed picture of two dressed chimpanzees with the caption "A Pair of Wallies". Thing is, if I knew a pair of chimps who could dress themselves properly, human-fashion, just like Michael Douglas in Wall Street rather than chuck turds at each other all day, I would call them geniuses and then probably put them to work on the stock market. Also, why is a toilet duck called a toilet duck? Why not a swan? Or is it too small for that? I would very much prefer a toilet flamingo come to think about it. And if Quilted Velvet toilet paper is "deeply quilted", why aren't duvets made of it? Perhaps it is too good for my bum. Billowing cloaks should be constructed of this luxurious material not shoved down the bog. Oh, don't get me started on the picture "SOME LEADERS ARE BORN WOMEN - Behind every successful woman is a man who's surprised". Is that offensive to both sexes or is it just me? What could it mean? Please consider that I am very confused this afternoon and easily irritated. Where free time flows like the Nile, there is much madness in store.

Why can't I check my e-mail? Oooh, I could clock something rather hard.

Today the quiz is on art and artists. Credit is due to The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art and Artists.

1. What term describes a 17th century Russian woodcut similar to the British chapbooks, which were first religious but turned political in content, and were a means of circulating songs and dances among peasants?
2. Nuraghic culture was the bronze age culture of which island (1500-1100BC) and is named from the towers or nuraghi of the period?
3. Who designed the monument Lipstick on Caterpillar Tracks (1969)?
4. Meaning "universal ruler" in Greek, what is the term for the image of Christ in majesty in Byzantine art and was situated in a dome on on an apse as the focus of the pictorial scheme which portrayed the bust and head of Christ with a stern, bearded face?
5. Which 17th century Spanish artist, primarily a genre painter but known for his religious painting The Calling of St Matthew, was known as 'the slave of Velazquez'?
6. Which father and son Italian sculptors carved the pulpits in the Pisa Baptistery, in Pisa cathedral and Siena cathedral and at Pistoia?
7. Known for works like Penge Station (1871), which figure of the Impressionistic circle alone exhibited at all eight exhibitions from 1874-86 that he largely organised?
8. Joshua Reynolds's 1753-4 portrait of which admiral, under whose patronage he visited Europe from 1749-52, led to many other commissions?
9. Ilya Repin, the painter of such works as The Volga Boatmen (1870-3), is the best known member of which group of Russian artists founded in 1870 to promote travelling exhibitions outside Moscow and St Petersburg, and whose leaders included Miasoedov, Perov and Ge?
10. Which painter of Russian origin trained as an engineer in Munich before creating such abstract constructions as Bust (1915), a Cubist-influenced work built with planes of wood?
11. The earliest works attributed to which early Netherlands painter are the miniatures identified in 1902 as the Turin-Milan Book of Hours?
12. Best known for Circe and Her Lovers in a Landscape, which Italian painter of Ferrara who died in 1542 was born Giovanni di Lutero?
13. Which sculptor entered the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti aged 17 and carved the wall tomb of antipope John XXIII (executed with Michelozzo); the Magdalen; and the singing gallery or Cantoria of Florence Cathedral?
14. In 1966 who made the series of etchings, Illustrations for Fourteen Poems from CP Cavafy and his first stage designs for Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi at the Royal Court Theatre?
15. Which British portrait painter is famed for portraits of his wife Dorelia, the Madame Suggia (1923) and the portrait of GB Shaw (1914)?
16. Which US minimalist "structure-maker", who in fact called himself an empiricist, believed that painting was "finished", stating in his 1965 article Specific Objects that 2-D painting was subject to "the problem of illusionism" and the true artists must work in the "real space" of the third dimension?
17. What large statue in bronze, made from his plaster cast model of 1933 and displayed beside Guernica in 1937, was placed on Picasso's grave?
18. The Madonna of Mercy, a polyptych, is which Italian painter and mathematician's first known commissioned work, who died in 1492?
19. Which French sculptor, who settled in Britain in about 1732, made his reputation with a statue of Handel for Vauxhall Gardens, and furthered it with the statue of Isaac Newton at Trinity College, Cambridge, the Argyll monument in Westminster Abbey, and the 'Davenant' bust of Shakespeare?
20. In oil painting, what is the technique of working a layer of opaque colour over an existing colour in such a way that the latter is only partially obliterated and a broken effect is obtained?
21. French for "unsticking", what is the peeling away usually of found images like posters, causing the accidental creation of new image and surface effects?
22. The turning point in the career of which US painter and graphic artist came in 1927 when he began to experiment with still-life abstractions in his Eggbeater series?

Answers to BH #17
1. Malcolm Arnold 2. Michael Tippett 3. Ralph Vaughan Williams 4. Sea Pictures, Clara Butt 5. Granville Bantock 6. Paul Bunyan 7. Thomas Ades 8. 1948, Peter Pears and Eric Crozier 9. Noye's Fludde (Noah's Flood) 10. Andrzej Panufnik 11. William Walton 12. John Blow 13. "This is the best of me" 14. Frank Bridge 15. Walt Whitman 16. Arthur Bliss 17. Harrison Birtwistle 18. Lowestoft 19. Judith Bingham 20. The Spanish Lady

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Last Night

It's getting very exciting at the top of the QLL Division I. We managed to beat Atletico 52-46. We merely nurdled a couple of points ahead each round (if I am allowed to use a cricket term which may have nothing to do with quizzing, but because it sounds somehow appropriate) and kept our heads. It's a good sign of our team's strength that I got ten points and this was the lowest score of all my teammates. Everyone is getting in double figures, which means we are getting the two-pointers that ensure our doing well.

However, my jokey, smug remark preceding the final round "Keep it tight" came back and bit me on the posterior when I thought about a lighthouse and said Bell Rock when I should have said Eddystone. Smirking Stainer retorts: "Keep it tight". It's strange when you can name the designer of a lighthouse - Henry Winstanley - who was hoisted by his own petard as it were, but you can't actually name the sodding building he built off Cornwall. Maybe, I'm too 'who designed this' obsessed. Maybe, I'm losing sight of the basic tenets of quiz. I dunno. What was hideously embarrassing for me was getting a question about how many numbers make up the Mohs scale wrong in the friendly that followed afterwards.

Despite hearing it in a pair, there are ten so and so things on the jobby, in the previous match, I am asked how degrees of hardness make up the Mohs scale. Ten or twelve, I ponder. I ponder further: what in the bleedin' hell was I doing when they are asking that pair during the main match? Was I doing my nails? Gulp. I say twelve. Wrong. How. Hideously. Embarrassing. I confess I have a tendency to make some stupid mistakes made all the more crude by my not listening to something said earlier in the evening.

So next week it is Allsorts. Kevin and Gavin. Rich and Ken. Phyllida and Paul. The champs.

I had been labouring under the delusion that if we won next week we would win because of a better head-to-head record, but apparently we there will be a play-off the week after which absolutely everyone will come and watch. I suppose it will give me another chance to explode in dramatic fashion, or cackle like a wild man under pressure. Oh wait a minute, in high pressure situations, I am more likely to crumple into a confidence-drained heap. Which is more like an implosion. Oh, actually I think that's Brain of London whose written qualifying test will be conducted after the game.

At one point after the game and down in the bar, I drew an analogy between a rising Arsenal team and Man U but then realised this was probably three years out of date and that there is no possible analogy I can draw unless I look into the lower leagues or some dusty annals.

We also have the added burden of all non-QLL team affiliated quizzers who want to compete in Brain of London turning up to spectate at the Paper Moon. It's quite a compact room, how we shall cope with all the extra numbers sucking up all that thinking oxygen, I do not know. I bet Kevin works equally as well in high altitude conditions. We shall see.

BH #17

Maybe it's because Brain of London qualifiying and preliminaries are coming up and there's bound to be some questions on them, but today it's all about British classical composers. Sorry, if that is the sort of thing that inspires about as much excitement in you as the news that Brett Ratner is murdering the X-Men series with his complete lack of directorial talent, or that Heather Small is re-releasing Proud yet again but this time with extra booming and vibrato, but this is what we need to know. You got me? (Not that I can actually recognise a piece of music by any of them ... as some people know my classical music knowledge is entirely textual, except for The Lone Ranger theme, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Apocalypse Now ... you know what I mean).

1 Which composer's ballets include Homage to the Queen (1953), Solitaire (1954), and Sweeney Todd (1959)?
2 Whose last major composition was The Rose Lake, whose world premiere came during his ninetieth birthday celebrations in 1995?
3 Which composer was born on October 12, 1872 to Margaret, daughter of Josiah Wedgwood III?
4 First performed on October 5, 1899 at Norwich festival, what name was given to Elgar's setting for contralto and orchestra of five poems with a maritime theme? And who was singing?
5 The man who succeeded Elgar in the post of professor of music at the University of Birmingham in 1908 and founded the City of Birmingham Orchestra, who composed 1915's Hebridean Symphony and 1928's Pagan Symphony, as well as the oratorio Omar Khayyam (1906-9)?
6 Set to lyrics by WH Auden, Britten's first operetta which was premiered at Columbia University in 1941 and received a hostile reception was about which mythical lumberjack?
7 Born in 1971, which compose's first opus Five Eliot Landscapes was published in 1990, while his 1995 chamber opera Powder Her Face became notorious for its musical depiction of fellatio? 8 In what year did Britten found the Aldeburgh festival? And with which singer and librettist?
9 Taking its title from a Biblical event, Britten set which 16th century miracle play from Chester to music? Also set operatically by Stravinsky, this cantata was first performed on June 18, 1958 as part of the Aldeburgh Festival.
10 On escaping to the West in 1954, which composer of ten symphonies wrote in his autobiography Composing Myself: "I had leapt to my Polish position of No. One to No One in England", but was knighted in 1991, the year he died?
11 Who was granted leave from military service during WW2 to compose music for such propaganda films as The First of the Few (1942) and Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1944)?
12 Who composed Epicedium for Queen Mary (1695) and Ode on the Death of Purcell (1696), and whose masque for the entertainment of the then King, Venus and Adonis, (written between 1680-87) is the only stage composition by him of which any record survives?
13 On completing the full score of the The Dream of Gerontius, Elgar added to it which famous quotation from John Ruskin's Sesames and Lilies?
14 Highly regarded for his chamber music, who composed the orchestral The Sea (1911), Oration (1930) for cello and orchestra and the opera The Christmas Rose (1932)?
15 Vaughan Williams composed Towards the Unknown Region in 1905, a setting to which poet's words?
16 Which Master of the Queen's Musick suffered many disappointments in his post-war career including his swansong Metamorphic Variations not being first performed by Leopold Stokowski as he had hoped when it was premiered in 1972?
17 Which Accrington-born man composed the operas The Second Mrs Kong (1994) and The Last Supper (2000)?
18 In which town was Britten born on November 22, 1913?
19 Which woman is one of the UK's most internationally performed composers with her piano trio Chapman's Pool receiving over 80 performances globally in two years, while her other works include the huge orchestral piece Chartres (2005) and whose Prague became, in 2003, the first female-written work to be selected as a National Brass Band Championship testpiece?
20 Elgar never managed to finish which opera (opus 89) in two acts with a libretto by Sir Barry Jackson which was based on the Ben Jonson play The Devil is an Ass?

Answers to BH #16
1 Lyndon Johnson 2 Tegel airport 3 Erich Huckel 4 The Flying Wallendas 5 Bugatti 6 Martial Solal 7 Vouli ton Ellinon (Council of the Greeks) or The Hellenic Parliament 8 Dorothy Hamill 9 Vanuatu 10 James Bradley 11 Mashraq 12 Wat Si Saket 13 Augustinians 14 The Mississippi 15 Fitness 16 Conservation of fitness 17 Fun Boy Three 18 Sophie Scholl 19 Lee Trevino 20 Mabel Lucie Attwell

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

BH quiz #16

What is the etiquette for sitting in pubs when you aren't doing the quiz and have to go to a gig? That happened on Sunday night, and I have to say, I behaved disgracefully. I kept on whispering the answers - how many senators are there in the US Senate? What rapper's real name is Sean Coombs? What is the subtitle of The Naked Gun 2 1/2? Pretty regulation stuff, but the team next to us (one was middle-aged with carefully combed white hair, and there was a thirysomething blonde woman with dreads, in other words a real mixed bag of regulars) really needed our help. Only I didn't want to be an ogre and ruin it for everyone. I spoke at a low volume. I left the amplification job to Dave, who did shout out every answer. He was getting quite mullered and repeating my answers and hollering hooligan-style the ones I thought were too easy to get. We walked out before we were chucked out, though it was quite funny trying to gain the trust of the team next to us. For all they knew, we could have been sabotaging them in a highly comedic act of misanthropy.

But in hindsight, I know it is showing off, and feel quite silly thinking about it. Next time, I'll shut up.

Brief preview
Tonight we entertain Atletico in the second round of the QLL play-offs. Good team. Former champions. They deserve our respect. And it's a good thing we're too self-deprecating and paranoid to get cocky about our chances, whatever our record says.

1 Which US President apparently bought his wife's wedding ring at Sears for the princely sum of $2.50?
2 What airport was built during the Berlin Airlift?
3 Which German chemist was responsible for the titular rule that outlines criteria for whether a ring structure can be termed aromatic?
4 Karl, who born in Magdeburg in Germany in 1905 and died falling from a tightrope in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978, was the patriarch of which family of acrobats and daredevil stunt performers?
5 Which car company produced its first great model, the Type 35, in 1924?
6 Born in 1927 to an opera singer and piano teacher, which Algerian pianist, composer, bandleader and noted improviser composed Suite in D Flat for jazz quartet for the film A Bout De Souffle?
7 What is the Greek parliament called?
8 After winning gold at the 1976 Winter Olympics and setting off a brief fad for her bobbed hairstyle, which figure skater became the first woman athlete to sign a million dollar per year contract with the Ice Capades and went bankrupt in 1996 after selling it to evangelist Pat Robertson?
9 Bislama, French and English are the official languages of which island nation in the south Pacific Ocean?
10 Which vicar of Bridstow and Astronomer Royal's extensive observations of Draco and its apparent changes in position led to him discovering the aberration of starlight in 1725?
11 What Arabic term meaning "east" refers to the Arab countries of the eastern Mediterranean: Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon?
12 Built in 1818 by Chao Anou the last king of Vientiane in the Siamese style to protect it from invading Siamese forces, what monastery is the spiritual home and symbol of Laotian nationhood?
13 To which order did Martin Luther belong?
14 What did TS Eliot call the "strong, brown god"?
15 In genetic theory what term describes a measure of the success with which a genetically determined character can spread in future generations?
16 What is the IUCN the international union for?
17 Which group's last top ten hit was Our Lips Are Sealed in 1983?
18 Which member of the anti-Nazi resistance group the White Rose is commemorated in the title of a new film directed by Marc Rothemund?
19 Which golfer won his first major in 1968 at the US Open, the major he won again in 1971?
20 Known for The Boo-Boos Series, Valentine (1921-22) and her Great Big Midget Books of 1934-5, which English illustrator (1879-1964) is associated with the cheerful, chubby babies she contributed to many greetings cards and books?

BH #15 answers
1 The Hague 2 Lavender and Old Lace 3 Nictitating Membrane 4 Theobald 5 Sundiata Keita or Sunjata Keita 6 Norman Maclean 7 Magic Eye 8 Helmut Newton 9 Practical videotape recorder 10 Altair 8800 11 The Mahdi 12 John Talafierro Thompson 13 Rossini 14 Henry Royce 15 Miltiades 16 Claudio Arrau 17 Lakshmi 18 Baryon 19 Laurel 20 Elburz 21 Promontory 22 Beirut 23 Lake Balaton 24 Nicene Creed 25 Teflon

One more thing
I've found the worst blog in the world. It's written in textese gibberish. I 'nid'? She doesn't 'noe'? Sweet Jay-sus. I can't even begin to take in whatever it's saying because whatever it's saying is a load of illiterate cow dung. It actually makes me despair of young people in general, unless it is an elaborate joke mimicking the odious hordes of text messaging young imps. In that case, it is not funny. It's really annoying. Stop it. Please.

Ouch. Ooh. Yah. Eeek. Pain. Soft, aching pain.

Sometimes, my predictions do pan out. Even if it was a fifty/fifty prediction (though whenever there is a true or false question I always seem to get it wrong).

So we lost to Cambridge. In a way that could be described as painful. Or painfully close.

It had been scrappy, bitty and hard all the way. We both swapped mistakes. Scores going into the final round were 32-29 to Cambridge. Then they dropped the ball on Cromwell's massacre at Drohegda, saying it had happened at Dunleary. Kathryn got the bonus. It had turned into a "three-point" game, meaning that the match can be decided on the last question that each team get. Being number four, I get a question, the last question, about a market town in Wiltshire that has a restored castle or something or other (I don't know, I seem to just scan questions when I hear them nowadays as well). The scores are 33-34. If I get two points, we win. The only answer I can think of is Devizes, purely because it is the only market town I can think of in Wiltshire. To be honest, I'm not even sure it has a castle. I'm wavering in the corridor of uncertainty. Then I see Kathryn putting a hand out, shaking it a bit. I think: "Why not go for the draw .... yeah". So I pass it for one. Kathryn says: "Corfe". My instant reaction is that "oh, I thought it was in Dorset". Andrew, the question master says incorrect and passes it over. Jesse has his fist out (which might as well be a knife aimed at my heart). He says Devizes. It is right. Cambridge win by two points.

As SIR Ben Kingsley says in an amusing New Yawk accent in Sneakers: "Dee-saz-ter". It was raining outside. The weather reflected my suddenly sullen disposition. Then I felt a little depressed. Not disappointed, mind you, which I think is far worse in a quiz. A little depressed in that victory could have been grasped but was chucked away. A little depressed in that I had deja vu about this. Passing on the bonus, supposedly into safety, and finding it going to the other team or oblivion - it's happened before. Of course, there is a slim chance that they won't get it, but the opposition always does. It is writ in nature's laws. Mistakes on the last question are punished dearly. Ouch. Oooh.

The moral could be never quiz again. Also, it could be always go for the win, never settle for the draw. Draws are for Italian teams built on rock solid calcio, and not for flakey quizzers. So it's either death or glory for me from now on. Be bloody selfish (until the next time). It's happened against Chester Army and now Cambridge - history is trying to teach me a lesson involving illustrative examples of hansom cabs and Wiltshire castles. The funny thing is, if I was forced to go for the draw by answering for two-points, I would have done so. Ouch. Ooh.

And Jesse even got both bloody counties question! Man alive. Surely, the gods were grimacing at us.

Anyway, these things happen. We're a new team and we'll learn from our mistakes. At the moment it is an experiment (much like our first two seasons in the QLL). Two of our team members have only just started playing the quiz league format properly, so inevitably hand signals and organisation is likely to go awry without some team-talks that I feel may be a bit patronising. Also, you learn what your team-mates' strengths and weaknesses over time (a questionnaire seems a bit formal). In the scheme of things, I don't really care about the stellar heights my average might reach (I was being flippant, which people mistake for a lot of other things) and naturally would like our team to do a lot better. We are capable, but it's just getting used to things that is the problem. This is the teething period.

I have been advised that you never captain from four, so maybe I will pass the responsibilities to others. Being an even more experienced league quizzer than me, Peter is entirely right about our tactics needing to improve. But neither can you ever say to yourself that one question cost you the draw or the win, whether it is about Ken Doherty or Devizes or Perth hosting the 1962 Commonwealth Games. It is the sum of them, and your opponents' ability to answer questions. When it comes down to the last player, it is the cumulative actions of the group that have decided the game, not the single crucial question. Although your feelings at the end say otherwise.

In my BH team our signalling and tactics are never discussed in any detail whatsoever, purely because we rely on overwhelming bredth and depth of knowledge to win us matches. Even if we tweaked that, or just became more aware of the players around us then we might be even better. I dunno, experience and interaction endows you with that kind of wisdom doesn't it? Hopefully, things will come right in the end.

The Friendly

President’s Cup friendly 19/2/06

I wrote another friendly. It scored 47-30 to UC Alumni, no doubt helped by the fact Roger had switched sides. I have tended to set them from ideas in the Saturday newspapers since news is the ore from which many quiz questions are mined, and was asked after round 3: "Are we getting away from the newspapers now?" (or something along those lines). See, I told you everyone hates current affairs, apart from people who set current affairs quizzes.

Andrew mentioned that there was "home-setters' advantage" and he's probably right. But it's like an Indian groundsman preparing a dust bowl for his country's spinners. It's not malicious, it's just what we know. If you give somebody the frame, they will fill the blank in with what most interests them (I admit it, I like putting jazz and fashion in, if such subjects are proscribed then what about canals and aqueducts or other archaic British engineering?), not with stuff they hate. Anyway, this is the first time a friendly quiz of mine has been scored 40s-30s since the last Cambridge match. I am going soft, it seems. Or perhaps jaded by my own determination to pump out new friendlies every time a new President's Cup match comes up. It's bloody knackering looking for Jack and Jill pairs on a Sunday morning. But I have to look on the bright side and see that it is doing me some good in terms of learning (and it also means I am sharpening my skills on all three areas of question-setting: the short, ten-word for; long buzzer quiz, and quiz league pairing - sorry, if that makes no sense to you, but an apology is better than having your arse bored off by rules and points of order).

Also, words of advice: never set questions while on an internet telephone thing in Kings Cross and always make sure the pairs go to opposing teams. Knowing you are the cause of confusion is embarrassing.

(I've starred the questions that went unanswered by both teams)

Round 1
1a Anne Rule’s true crime book The Stranger Beside Me recounts the life of which American serial killer, with whom she once worked at a Seattle suicide hotline in the 70s when he was a clean-cut young Republican?
1b Ansell Henry, Michelle Dewberry, Benedict Stanberry and Ruth Badger are among the 14 competitors in the second series of which BBC2 TV show?
2a Known for such works as Children on the Shore, which woman was the only American painter to ever exhibit with the French impressionists?
2b The American painter John Singer Sergeant is best known for which 1883-4 work which caused a public outcry in Paris and was a portrait of an eponymous society femme fatale?
3a Which American airline company has been revealed to be the worst culprit when misplacing luggage, losing 573,419 bags last year?*
3b Brian Master’s true crime book Killing for Company tells the story of which English serial killer whose feelings of overwhelming loneliness led him to watching TV in the company of headless corpses?
4a Who was the winner of the first series of The Apprentice, who formerly worked for London Underground and has now been put to work promoting an anti-wrinkle device called Integra by Alan Sugar?
4b British Airways is not the worse culprit when it comes to European airlines losing luggage. Which is the only airline company to have a worse record?

Round 2
1a Which popular mineral water comes from the Auvergne region, near Clermont-Ferrand?
1b What breakfast cereal celebrates its 100th anniversary on February 19 with the anniversary of the founding of its makers, but was actually first served at a health centre on March 7, 1897?
2a The second film to be directed by George Clooney, which new film looks at the conflict between senator Joe McCarthy and journalist Ed Murrow, whose sign-off for his news programme See It Now gives the film its name?
2b Which popular mineral water comes from Blackford in Perthshire?
3a What was the first ever breakfast cereal?
3b Ann Marie Rogers recently lost her legal challenge over her local NHS trust’s refusal to fund treatment with which drug that had not yet been licensed for use in the early stages of breast cancer?
4a Also called Oseltamivir, what antiviral drg has been much in the news as it is the main drug for the treatment of bird flu?
4b Which forthcoming film from Traffic scriptwriter Stephen Gaghan stars George Clooney as a betrayed CIA agent and takes its name from the geo-political nation that American neo-conservatives have envisioned covering the oil-rich nations of the Middle East?

Round 3
1a What new name does the London Broncos rugby league team have for this year's Super League season?
1b Which ballroom dance is named after its inventor, a vaudeville actor who apparently was unable to find female dancers capable of performing the two-step, and so, to make it easier, added stagger steps, thus creating the dance's basic rhythm?*
FOXTROT (Harry Fox)
2a Alumni of which English public school include cricketer and commentator Jonathan Agnew, car and motorboat racer Donald Campbell, actor and writer Stephen Fry and actor Boris Karloff?
2b Alumni of which English independent school includes the writers Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Charles Lamb, as well as inventor Sir Barnes Wallis and comedian Mark Thomas?
3a Which New York club, famed for both its promotion of 70s punk music and its long-standing manager Hilly Kristal, will be closed down on Halloween after the owners of the building, the Bowery Residents Committee, terminated its lease?
CBGB (& OMFUG) (stands for Country, Bluegrass, and Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gourmandizers)
3b Based in Perpignan, which new rugby league team opened their Super League season with a victory over Wigan?
4a Which Latin American style of dance is derived from the rumba and mambo in a 4/4 meter and has a name which originally referred to a component of a Haitian bell which made a noise when it was rubbed?
4b Famed for such patrons as Pierre Trudeau, Truman Capote and Bianca Jagger, which famed New York club was operated by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager before they were arrested and charged for skimming $2.5 million in 1979?

Round 4
1a Known for her debut album Eye to the Telescope, which Scottish-singer of Chinese and Irish parentage won the Best British Female Solo Artist Award at the Brits?
1b Sometimes called the "cradle of mankind", which 30-mile long steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley is in the Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania and is named after the Masai word for the wild sisal plant?
2a Set in 1940s London, The Night Watch is the latest novel by which lesbian novelist?
2b Which hip-hop star, who was allegedly too scared to ask Prince for an autograph and recently released his second album Late Registration, won the Best International Male prize at the Brits? KANYE WEST
3a The world's largest unbroken volcanic caldera, which crater is situated in an eponymous conservation area situated 180 km west of Arusha in Tanzania?
3b Taking its name from the house in which a girl called Silver lives, Tanglewreck is the latest novel by which lesbian novelist?
4a Which Perrier award-winning stand-up comedian is the great great great great grandson of novelist William Makepeace Thackeray?
4b Preston, lead singer of The Ordinary Boys, has been revealed to be the great great great great grandson of which 19th century Prime Minister?*

Round 5
1a Part of the forthcoming season at the National Theatre, the Helen Edmundson play Coram Boy looks at two orphans whose lives are linked by which institution that was founded by
Thomas Coram in 1739?
1b Designed by Lord Foster and engineer Michel Virlogeux, which cable-stayed bridge in southern France is the tallest vehicular bridge in the world with one pier's summit reaching 341m?
2a In which Devon town, on the river that forms part of its name, are flaming tar barrels carried throughout the town on Guy Fawkes Night?
2b Hindus call their religion by what two-word name meaning "eternal religion" or "eternal truth"?*
3a Dharma, meaning the fulfillment of moral, social and religious duties is one of the four purposes of life in Hindusim. Name any of the other three.
3b Part of the forthcoming season at the National Theatre, the Peter Shaffer play The Royal Hunt of the Sun looks at the relationship between Inca ruler Atahualpa and which Spanish conquistador?
4a Designed by Norman Foster and Partners, which 259m tall tower in Frankfurt was the tallest building in Europe until 2004?*
4b Held annually in midwinter, what fire festival in the Shetland Islands has a procession that ends in torches being thrown into replica Viking longships or galleys, all of which are sent seaward apart from the Lerwick galley?

Round 6
1a Founded in 1868 by Thomas Gibson Bowles, which British weekly magazine was subtitled "A Weekly Show of Political, Social and Literary Wares"?*
1b Which British monthly fiction magazine was founded by George Newnes and was published from 1891 to 1950?
2a Which United States spy ship was boarded and captured by North Korean soldiers in 1968 and though currently on display in Pyongyang is still a commissioned vessel of the US Navy, in fact the second oldest to remain so?
2b For which company did aeronautical engineer Frank Ruby invent the first air-cushioned sole by injecting an inert gas into a polyurethane membrane?
3a In 2004, which company introduced the first 'intelligent shoe', a trainer with a sensor that adjusts the level of cushioning in the sole to suit the terrain and wearer?
3b Which then fourth division team caused a huge FA Cup upset by beating Leeds United 3-2 in a 1971 fifth round tie?
4a Which non-league team beat First Division Coventry City 2-1 in the third round of the FA Cup in 1989?
4b The oldest commissioned ship in the US Navy, which Joshua Humphreys-designed frigate was one of six such ships authorised for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and is also known as Old Ironsides?*

Round 7
1a Which Greek philosopher first proposed in about 465 BC that matter exists in the form of imperishable and indivisible particles which he called "atomos"?
1b Shelly Rudman finished second in the bob skeleton in the Winter Olympics to a competitor of which nationality?
2a In the early days of the civil rights movement which Alabama city had a bus boycott during 1955 and 1956?
2a Famed for his recruiting abilities during World War One, which music hall entertainer was nicknamed the Prime Minister of Mirth and in one theatre promised "a shiny florin for every recruit who signs on tonight"?
3a Shelly Rudman's boyfriend Kristan Bromley finished fifth, while a competitor of which nationality won the men's bob skeleton?
3b Which British chemist and physicist first outlined his universal atomic theory in the third edition of his System of Chemistry in 1807 and elaborated on it in 1808's New System of Chemical Philosophy?
4a Once called "Scotland's greatest ever ambassador" by Winston Churchill, which entertainer organised a tour of music halls in 1915 for recruitment purposes and who would often say "Ten pounds for the first man here who joins the army"?
4b Police attacked civil rights protesters who had been marching on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in which Alabama city in 1965?*

Round 8
1a Which famous 70s fashion boutique was situated at 430 King's Road, Chelsea?
1b Mary Quant opened which fashion boutique in Chelsea's King's Road in 1955?
2a In which Germany city will you find the Alte Pinakothek art gallery?
2b What is added to Scotch whisky to make a Rusty Nail cocktail?
3a What spirit is added to brandy in a Sidecar cocktail?
3b Though its effect was discovered in 1817 by Johann Bohnenberger, the gyroscope was invented and named in 1852 by which Frenchman for an experiment involving the Earth's rotation?
4a What variant of the gyroscope was designed by Lord Kelvin to illustrate the more complicated state of motion of a spinning body when free to wander on a horizontal plane, like a top spinning on the pavement?
4b In which German city is the Gewandhaus concert hall?

1 Inventor of modern chemical notation, which Swedish chemist is credited with the discovery and isolation of silicon, selenium and cerium as well as coining the terms isomer and catalyst?
2 The Limehouse Declaration led to the founding of which British political party?
3 The attack on which fort on April 12, 186 , started the US Civil War?
4 Which Italian dramatist wrote Six Characters In Search of an Author?
5 Meaning "fast" or "to hasten" in Hawaiian, what term describes a type of collaborative website that allow users to easily add and edit content?